Former Toronto Blue Jays youth baseball instructor charged with child luring
MLB team 'deeply disturbed to learn of the charges' against John Hashimoto, 56, of Hamilton
A former lead instructor with the Toronto Blue Jays' academy for young players faces two charges involving sexual offences against children.
John Douglas Hashimoto, 56, of Hamilton is charged with luring a child under 16 and an invitation to sexual touching, Halton Regional Police said in a release Thursday.
The release said Hashimoto is with the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy, but the MLB team later said in a statement to CBC Hamilton that he's a former employee.
The statement said the organization is "deeply disturbed to learn of the charges against a former seasonal employee, but as this is an ongoing legal matter, we cannot comment further at this time."
The Blue Jays said Hashimoto was a seasonal employee with the youth academy from 2006 until early 2020. Spokesperson Jessica Beard said the organization terminated his contract during the pandemic.
As part of his work, the Blue Jays said, he underwent a criminal record check every other year, and was last cleared in November 2019. The team also said annual mandatory training for its baseball instructors requires staff to not be alone with children and youth participants.
Baseball Canada imposes suspension
The Halton police release said Hashimoto's credentials include being a master coach developer and evaluator with Baseball Canada.
Adam Morissette, spokesperson for Baseball Canada, said the organization is deeply concerned about the allegations and has suspended Hashimoto indefinitely.
"Baseball Canada will fully co-operate with any police investigation and encourage those who may have more information to contact the Halton Police," said a release. "Since this is a criminal investigation, Baseball Canada will not be providing any further comment."
Hashimoto has also been involved with youth baseball in Hamilton, and is a retired teacher with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
Police said he used the handle David or David 46 online.
Hamilton school board contacting families
Shawn McKillop, spokesperson for Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), said the board is troubled by the news.
In an email, McKillop said: "This is a concern with respect to child safety and we are supporting the investigation."
He said school communities where the suspect taught will receive a letter "to reinforce the serious nature of the investigation."
The board said he worked at four schools between 1987 to 2019:
- Billy Green Elementary School.
- Dr. J.E. Davey Elementary School.
- Queensdale Elementary School.
- Sherwood Secondary School.
"We are sharing widely with these schools (from most recently to first hired at HWDSB) as our effort to support the ongoing investigation if there is anyone with more information," said McKillop.
In a letter to families, the school board also said: "If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse or sexual assault, remember the abuse was not your fault and there is no time limit on reporting the abuse to police."
Police reach out to public for info
Const. Steve Elms, a spokesperson for Halton police, wants anyone who's had contact with the accused in the past several years to contact them.
"We want to be able to provide support for those victims if they choose to come forward, and obviously we would like to be able to pursue more charges," he said.
"As a parent myself, you hate seeing this sort of thing any time anybody is in a position of authority over a youth, to see that position of authority being abused. It's a tragic thing."
It's unclear when the investigation started and the allegations first emerged.
Anyone with information should call Det. Todd Martin at 905-825-4747 ext. 8983 or Det. Const. Andrew Hulbert at 905-825-4747 ext. 8974. Both are with the Halton Regional Police Service internet child exploitation unit.
Resources for sexual assault survivors and their families include:
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-688-6868 or text 686868 or kidshelpphone.ca.
- Children's Aid Society: (905) 522-1121 (intake) or hamiltoncas.com.
- Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton (SACHA) – Crisis Line (905) 525-4162 or sacha.ca.
- Tips from the public school board for adults supporting children after a distressing event.